The thoroughbred is perhaps one of the most famous horses worldwide due to its speed. The popularity of horse racing has elevated the thoroughbred’s status to what it is today. Because of their value in the sporting world, thoroughbreds are the most valuable horses in the world.
The breed’s ancestry is difficult to map since many of the original forebears’ names were changed when they were sold to different owners.
The three most influential horses in developing the breed were the Barb, Turk and Arabian. Through the ages, the best and fastest horses were bred for their speed. This speed has created some of the most popular races today which include the Kentucky Derby, the Preakness and Belmont Stakes which constitute the Triple Crown. These races showcase the thoroughbred’s string suit because the thoroughbred can run a mile (1.6 kilometers) in about one and a half minutes. Even more amazing are the legendary race horses. Secretariat’s response went beyond unreal. He won by a jaw-dropping 31 lengths. His time of 2:24 for one and a half miles set a world record many argue may never be broken.
Thoroughbreds are probably the horse most people think of when asked to picture a horse. They come in all colors, but predominantly are brown, bay and chestnut.
They have well conformed bodies with well-sloped shoulders and powerful hindquarters. Thoroughbreds’ refined heads are misleading of their Arabian ancestry as they do not possess the characteristic Arabian dished profile. At an average of 16 to 16.2hh, they are tall with long legs bred for speed making them the ultimate ‘speed racer.’ The clean, hard legs of a thoroughbred have a minimum of eight inches of bone below the knee.
Every kid is sure to have seen a movie featuring a thoroughbred at some point. Great movies such as National Velvet, Seabiscuit and Dreamer are a few horse enthusiast favorites. Because they are so fast, they create a sense of wonder and awe leading to many enchanting stories.
Not to be pigeon-holed as speed demons, thoroughbreds are great all-around horses, too. They excel in jumping and hunting events and compete in three-day events. Though one of the more spirited breeds, they do make good pleasure horses. Adopted retired racehorses must be taught the basics, such as the four gaits. Because a racehorse knows fast and faster, a patient owner and trainer are required. But the result is very fulfilling as many retired racehorses even become schooling and lesson horses. They have very smooth gaits with easy ground-covering strides for flat work.
The thoroughbred is an extremely handsome, spirited and alert horse. It has won the hearts of the world over. Though built for speed, it has so much more to offer!